Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro of the FBI, Donnell Young of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Ronald J. Verrochio of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service announce that Victor Martinez Pantoja, 23, of Naples, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez in Key West to 34 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Pantoja previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, on November 21, 2013, Pantoja met with two individuals and negotiated a deal to cash fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury income tax refund checks. During the meeting, Pantoja gave the individuals three Treasury checks totaling $27,263 to be cashed, provided a copy of a counterfeited Florida driver’s license and Social Security card for each corresponding Treasury check, and forged the names of the individuals to endorse the back of each check. Pantoja obtained these U.S. Treasury checks by filing fraudulent tax returns using the identities of individuals who died in the previous tax year. He obtained the deceased individuals’ identities from the Internet.
Court documents also state that the individuals agreed to cash the Treasury checks within three business days and to return $20,500 to Pantoja. On November 26, 2013, the individuals gave Pantoja $20,500 as payment for the previous three Treasury checks. During this meeting, Pantoja provided the individuals with six Treasury checks totaling $35,547, which were to be cashed by the individuals.
Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of FBI, IRS-CI, and the USPIS. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gera R. Peoples.